Physicians are responsible for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Surgeons also are responsible for surgical correction of conditions. Podiatric physicians provide surgical and non-surgical care below the knee. Academic Medicine also includes research.

Training to become a physician requires four years of medical school after undergrad. Training can be through medical schools that grant M.D. or D.O. degrees. Many of those who wish to pursue Academic Medicine often complete M.D. /P.h.D. programs, which are typically 7-8 years. Residency training is unified in a single match and lasts 3-7 years, depending on the specialty. Post-residency fellowships for further sub- specialty training are 1-3 years. Podiatric physicians have separate medical schools that confer the D.P.M. degree followed by a three-year residency, with possible 1-2 year fellowship training. There are 142 M.D. granting schools, 34 D.O. granting schools, and 9 D.P.M. granting schools in the U.S.

Job Market: The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate is 3% (slower than average).

Base Salary: This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year or $100.00 per hour


Prerequisites vary slightly from school to school, this list will cover the requirements at many schools.

  • Chemistry 5 semesters including Biochemistry
  • General Biology 2 semesters
  • Physics 2 semesters
  • English 1-2 semesters
  • May require Statistics
  • Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology

Preparation Outside the Classroom

A knowledge of the field is vital in the application process. Shadowing or scribing helps you understand the role of the physician on the health care team. Patient contact is also vital – do you like being around those who are ill? Hospital or clinic volunteering can provide this, as can EMT, CNA, patient care technician, or medical assisting work. Health care is a life of service and medical programs expect to see a consistent interest in the well-being of others, particularly vulnerable groups like those in poverty, members of underserved groups, asylum seekers, those with disabilities, etc. Medicine is a profession that requires continuous intellectual curiosity and independent learning.


The application process for Notre Dame students starts with information sessions during freshman orientation. There are additional sessions at the end of freshman year, and during the sophomore year. If you are planning to begin medical school a few weeks after graduating then you will attend an organizational meeting in November of your junior year, and then attend weekly sessions throughout the spring semester. If you are taking one or more gap years, you will attend these sessions during your senior year. The MCAT is the standardized test required by all three types of medical schools. You will have results sent to the centralized application services. the MCAT should be taken by May of the year before applicants plan to enter medical school. The results are valid for three years.

Applications are submitted through one (or more) of the central applications services. Public medical colleges (M.D. and D.O.) in Texas use the TMDSAS. M.D. schools (other than TX public) use the AMCAS. Osteopathic (D.O.) medical schools use the AACOMAS. Podiatric schools use the AACPMAS. The optimal application timeline is June for M.D. schools, June to July for D.O. Schools and August-December for D.P.M schools.

Committee letters are valued by medical schools. The Center for Health Sciences Advising will provide a letter for current students and alumni who participate in our letter process in a timely manner. In November the year before they apply (and two years before they start medical school), students/alumni will be responsible for letting our office know they plan to apply. They will receive the Intent to Apply Form and the Questionnaire to prepare before the end of January. Applicants turn these into the office and then can schedule an hour-long, one-on-one interview for the committee letter. Interviews occur from January through April.

Students must apply before July 15th to obtain a full committee letter.

You should apply to 12-16 programs.


The Association of American Medical Colleges has a great deal of information about preparing for medical school and the MCAT.

Information about Osteopathic medicine and training can be found at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the American Osteopathic Association. You can find a mentor podiatric physician through a service of the American Association of the Colleges of Podiatric Medicine.